Benjamin Robertson

Benjamin Robertson, Ph.D.

Senior Associate
Biomedical Engineering & Sciences
Philadelphia
  • CV (English)
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Dr. Robertson specializes in multi-disciplinary approaches for automation of data acquisition and analysis in the biological sciences. He has technical expertise in robotics, computer vision, instrumentation, biomechanics, and analytical techniques for probing functional and material properties of biological tissue. He also has over a decade of experience in small animal surgery (neural and musculoskeletal), design of animal behavioral assays, development of pre-clinical disease models, and animal regulatory affairs. In addition to academia, Dr. Robertson has held R&D positions within the DoD and pharmaceutical industry.

Prior to joining Exponent Dr. Robertson was the first non-founder hire at Edgewise Therapeutics, where he developed a suite of custom high-throughput experimental acquisition and analysis systems used for everything from cellular assays of muscle function to whole animal behavioral studies. Some highlights include custom robotic platforms for ex-vivo/in-situ functional muscle testing, computer vision tools for automated histological analysis, and behavioral instrumentation to assess voluntary activity levels.

Dr. Robertson has also previously developed custom high speed motion capture systems for rodent gait analysis, novel approaches to simulation of neuromuscular systems, EMG-based controllers for assistive exoskeletons, robotic environment simulators for probing neuromuscular control and rapid prototyping of assistive exoskeletons, automated approaches for seizure detection and quantification in chronic EEG recordings, and surgical surgical/viral approaches to selective manipulation nervous system with opto- and chemogenetic tools.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, North Carolina State University Joint with University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, 2014
  • B.S., Applied Physics, Emory University, 2008
  • Journal of Biomechanics Award – 2016 Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics

Publications

Robertson BD, Sawicki GS. A benchtop biorobotic platform for in vitro observation of muscle-tendon dynamics with parallel mechanical assistance from an elastic exoskeleton. J Biomech. Mar (2017).*

Robertson BD, Sawicki GS. Unconstrained muscle-tendon workloops indicate resonance tuning as a mechanism for elastic limb behavior during terrestrial locomotion. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. Oct (2015).§

Vahedipour, A., Haji-Maghsoudi, O., Wilshin, S., Shamble, P., Robertson, B. D. and Spence, A. J. Uncovering the structure of the mouse gait controller: mice respond to substrate perturbations with adaptations in gait on a continuum between trot and bound. J Biomech. Sept (2018).

Robertson BD, Farris DJ, Sawicki GS. More is not always better: impact of springy exoskeleton assistance on tuned muscle-tendon interaction. Bioinspiration and Biomimetics. Nov (2014).

Farris DJ, Robertson BD, Sawicki GS. Passive elastic exoskeletons reduce soleus muscle force but not work in human hopping. Journal of Applied Physiology, Sept (2013).

Rossetti F, de Araujo Furtado M, Pak T, Bailey K, Shields M, Chanda S, Addis M, Robertson BD, Moffett M, Lumley LA, Yourick DL.  Combined diazepam and HDAC inhibitor treatments protects against seizures and neuronal damage caused by soman exposure.  Neurotoxicology, Feb (2012). 

*Winner of 2016 Journal of Biomechanics Award

§Featured on Ray Kurzweil’s “Accelerating Intelligence”

Presentations

Robertson BD, Lemay MA, Smith GM, Spence AJ. Selective excitation of large diameter sensory afferent with DREADDs enhances functional recovery post-spinal cord injury. 2017 Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. November 2017, Washington DC.

Robertson BD, Lemay MA, Smith GM, Spence AJ. Modulation of Large Diameter Sensory Afferent Excitability with DREADDs. 2016 Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. November 2016, San Diego CA.

Robertson BD, Spence AJ. A computer vision controlled treadmill with high speed 3D motion capture and behaviorally triggered perturbation for use in rodents. 2016 Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics, August 2016, Raleigh NC.

Professional Affiliations

American/International Society of Biomechanics

Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society

Society for Neuroscience

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology

Additional Information

Peer Reviewer

Journal of Applied Physiology

Royal Society Open Science

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, North Carolina State University Joint with University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, 2014
  • B.S., Applied Physics, Emory University, 2008
  • Journal of Biomechanics Award – 2016 Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics